A federal Labor government would hand back taxpayer money to environment legal centres, pledging almost $11 million over four years.
Environment spokesman Mark Butler revealed Labor would reinstate federal funding to environmental defenders officers, after the Abbott government stripped the legal centres of cash in 2013.
Mr Butler also confirmed Labor would retain the federal government's power to make environmental approvals, reversing the coalition's policy of handing those powers to the states.
The centres were established by Labor to hold governments and companies accountable for breaking environmental laws and provide free legal advice on new developments, pollution and other issues.
Australian Conservation Foundation says the offices are a "critical part" of democracy, providing a voice for communities and the environment in the courts.
"Australians need to be able to trust the national system of environment approvals," campaigns director Paul Sinclair said.
Labor also promised to streamline environmental assessments with states, while looking at options for an independent environment protection body.
The Wilderness Society called on the coalition to back an independent agency to work as a regulator.
"We need a new national independent environment body free from political interference," national director Lyndon Schneiders said.